The NBA has followed through on a public desire by Commissioner Adam Silver to take steps to lower the league’s age minimum to 18, according to a person with knowledge of the matter not authorized to speak publicly.
Over All-Star weekend, the NBA delivered a proposal to the players’ union detailing the proposal, which would move the league in the direction of removing the so-called “one-and-done” rule for college basketball players.
The proposal had nothing to do with Duke forward Zion Williamson’s injury Tuesday night. Williamson is projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
Silver, in July, said the league presented owners with plans to revamp the rule.
“We presented the pros and cons on going from 19 to 18. In conjunction with that presentation, we discussed a lot about the development of younger players prior to them coming into the professional ranks,” Silver said. “We’ve had several discussions with both the NCAA and USA Basketball about engaging with them, with players beginning roughly at 14 years old, and especially with those elite players who we know statistically have a high likelihood when they’re identified at that age of being top-tier players coming into the league.
“So I think the next step will be to sit down with the players association. Of course, it has to be collectively bargained if we’re going to lower the age. That’s something we’ll begin to discuss with them.”
Silver said it’s also his opinion that the age limit should be lowered, though not immediately in order to give teams time to adjust to a new crop of draft-eligible prospects. Silver was once in favor of upping the age limit to 20.
The current league rules requiring players to be at least one year removed from high school were enacted before the 2006 draft.